What it’s like to live and work at Disney World

Lisa Richards lives in Hampshire and is training to be a teacher. She shares her experience of working at Disney World.

Lisa Richards on working at Disney World in Florida

Walt Disney once said ‘you can design, create and build the most wonderful place in the world. But it takes people to make the dream a reality’.

I’ve always been a Disney girl, and Walt Disney World has always been my favourite place in the world.

When you wish upon a star…

Back in 2005, I found out that it was possible for people in the UK (and other countries) to work and live in the ‘happiest place on Earth’. This was the best news I think I’d ever had.

I was in the middle of my first year at university and found out that during the summer break I could apply and work in Walt Disney World.

How to get a job at Disney World

There are two ways UK citizens could work there.

Firstly, they can do what I did which was to work for a shorter period on what they call their International College Program (ICP).

Or, you can apply to work for 12 months in the UK Pavilion of EPCOT – a theme park at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida – and act as a cultural representative of your country.

Because I was at uni, I didn’t want to leave my studies for the 12-month period, so I applied and successfully secured a place on the ICP.

What happened next?

For my whole summer in 2006, between my first and second year of university, I packed my bags and moved to Orlando to join the Disney family.

To get my spot I had to meet with the international recruitment team and pretty much sell to them my love for Disney. Then I had to wait a few weeks to find out if I had a place.

These were some of the longest weeks of my life, and when I received my welcome email I was over the moon. I found out I had a spot in December 2005, and I flew to Orlando in June 2006.

Working at Disney World

My ICP was 14 weeks and during that time I worked in Downtown Disney (now Disney Springs) and I lived in specialist Disney-owned apartment complexes.

My complex was Vista Way. I shared an apartment with five other English girls who were all on the same program as me. In fact, we all flew out on the same flight.

This was without a doubt the best summer of my life. Not only was I living and working for Walt Disney World, but I also had free entry into the four Disney theme parks for my entire stay.

When I wasn’t working for Disney in a customer service role, I was playing in the theme parks.

My role was completely guest-focused and I would spend my days interacting and helping people have the best holiday.

Why you should follow your dreams

I would encourage every single person to have an experience like this, it really was one of the best times of my life.

My best friend, who is also godmother to my daughter, was my roommate in Vista Way.

These experiences bond you in a way you can’t even imagine.

Useful links

For more information on jobs at Disney resorts, click here.

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